Complex, enthralling and just a little bit stressful – that’s how I summarise my first semester of law school.

By Rebecca Spilipoulos

Complex, enthralling and just a little bit stressful. Those few words pretty much sum up how my first semester as a law student at La Trobe university panned out. The experience of starting law is eye-opening, a description that lends itself particularly to the cases I got introduced to in my first semester law subjects. In subjects such as Law, Institutions and Methods, I could not believe the scenarios that were written out on the paper had actually occurred in real life. Through reading these cases, it not only opened my eyes up to the harsh reality of the world that we live in, but also how imperative and crucial the legal system is in our country.

The law is a complex thing – even our early study of it underlines that few cases are black and white. It in fact has many grey areas (and even some purple and yellow ones if you ask me!). Hours of thought and expertise are poured into creating laws and putting them into effect. Thus far, there has never been a dull moment when in my law seminars When the seminar leaders bring their own personal passion for the law into the classroom, it automatically bounces off onto the students and furthermore motivates us further to want to learn about the law. For me personally, after I complete law school, I want to be a practising lawyer. My seminar leaders thus far have all been and still are practising lawyers themselves. With teachers sharing their personal experiences, it has only driven my motivation further into wanting to complete my double degree as soon as possible so I can become a practising lawyer myself and hence get to personally have fascinating experiences of my own.

The adjustment into university life, no matter what course you are undertaking, can be challenging and just a little bit stressful. It is imperative however that you accept this change and give it the best shot you have. Independent learning can be difficult at times as you don’t have someone constantly pointing you in the right direction and telling you when deadlines are coming up. Personally, for the first few week, it was hard not to feel lost – I had an LMS page which was already telling me that I had quizzes due! For me, using a diary, and marking all the assessment due dates allowed me to timeline and triage. It was kind of like a substitute for my high school teachers who would always guide me through high school. By doing this, it automatically calmed my nerves down and I was then able to create a structured routine of how and when I was going to complete my assessments and be prepared for each week’s seminars, tutorials and lectures.

Overall, I learnt an abundance of knowledge from all my first semester subjects. As both my courses (Law and International Relations) build upon acquired knowledge, all the information that I learnt in first semester will be carried on and expanded upon in second semester and for the remaining years of my degrees to come. For second semester, I will definitely keep up creating a timeline of all my assessments and having my friendly La Trobe diary handy at all times!

Rebecca Spiliopoulos is a La Trobe University Aspire Student. She is currently studying Law and International Relations at La Trobe Law School.

La Trobe